Changes are a-happening at BET; all as part of the network’s efforts to rebrand itself, as a home for more adult content, perhaps? I wouldn’t know, hence the question mark. Although there was that Beyonce situation…
This news comes 2 months after Loretha Jones, who was President of Original Programming for BET Networks for 6 years, and who spearheaded the network’s recent moves into original scripted programming, stepped down. Also in September, the network extended its deal with Mara Brock and Salim Akil for another 2 years, locking down the creative couple at BET through 2016. Their latest offering, "Being Mary Jane," returns for a second season in early 2015.
To be clear, not that I’m suggesting any of these occurrences are directly connected to each other, in any way, other than that they all happened within a relatively short block of time.
Did I mention that Beyonce situation…?
After a 14-year run, BET has announced that its popular "after school" franchise "106 & PARK," will end after its final daily on-air episode on December 19, 2014. Although it’s not going away entirely. Specials carrying the "106 & PARK" stamp will be produced throughout the year, including its annual New Year’s Eve show, "106 & PARTY," along with events tied to the BET Awards, as well as an online presence at BET.com.
Stephen Hill, BET’s President of Music Programming and Specials, had this to say about the show:
AJ accepting Janet Jackson’s challenge to…dance. Bow Wow laying that kiss on Tyra Banks (or was it the other way around?). Free crawling around the set LIKE Catwoman WITH Catwoman Halle Berry. Julissa’s taking over Halloween as “Wonder Woman.” Keshia brilliantly bonding with First Lady Michelle Obama. Paigion flying around the world with Rihanna on a 777. Rocsi salsa dancing with Victor Cruz and putting him to shame. Shorty and Ms. Mykie’s killer rap, “The History of Justin Timberlake,” visably thrilling JT himself. Terrence beatboxing while Jamie Foxx rhymed. Tigger making Tom Cruise do the of-the-moment "motorcycle dance."
We all have our favorite moments from the show that has put youth culture on television daily since the first year of this century. We have pride in being involved with the show that has welcomed almost every movie star, music superstar and fresh-faced talent you can name (you can even throw in a first lady). We’ve all laughed with and been entertained by the young men and women hosts that have charmed us at 6 p.m. (and more recently 5 p.m.) each weekday.
All of us have been touched by 106 & Park.
Now it’s time for 106 & Park, as a daily TV entity, to take a bow and exit.
It’s been a great 14-year run as America’s top music/variety show on cable. And now that very valuable brand is going to take its talents to the digital realm. The interactive brand you helped build,106 & Park, is alive and well…and it’s moving to the space in which our audience NOW interacts with music the most: online. It’ll be very exciting to connect with the millions of people that are already engaged with 106 & Park and other BET digital and social media entities and bring content that will further evolve the 106 & Park brand — and enhance the overall BET Networks brand. As we transition to the digital space, we look to continue 106 & Park’s role as both a leader of and a mirror to youth culture. We’ll have more information to share about how that is to roll out very soon.
And 106 & Park will still have specials on BET. What’s a New Year’s Eve without 106 & Party? 106 & Park Presents: 106 & Party will be on-air to take our viewers into the beginning of the second half of this decade in a big way. And when it’s time for the BET Awards to come around, you can be sure that106 & Park Presents: Live, Red and Ready will be ushering you into the show and that 106 & Park will be an integral part of the BET Experience.
I’m not trying to minimize it; this is a very big change. We thank all the people who have worked on the show over the years; the talented hosts, the hard-working staff, production crews and all the incredible guests we’ve had. Most of all, we’d like to humbly thank the “livest audience,” both in studio and at home, who fueled this landmark TV show from the very beginning. Meet you in the digital domain.
106 & Park will have its final daily on-air show on BET on December 19.
Onward and upward.
And so it goes…